The land lay under an heavy pall of smoke today, from dozens of forest fires burning around the province. Smoke came in through the open windows of our home, making me wonder who had a wood fire going. We weren’t burning anything, and our nearest neighbour is half a mile away.
Stepping outside, I saw that the smoke extended as far as I could see. Even when the sun was shining, its rays were so weak the dandelions closed up. It wasn’t as bad as four years ago, when half the town of Slave Lake burned down… but it was smoky enough for us to feel the oppression. And it had to happen on the day the black poplars started “snowing” their fluffy blossoms, which are pretty, but not so good for the allergies.
Just before sunset, Ian and I took a short drive to the river. Northern Alberta sunsets are usually dominated by pastel pink, mauve, or peach. The sky was just as pretty, and no more spectacular, than usual tonight. But the sun!! We were stunned to see a huge brilliant red ball nearing the horizon in the northwest. We stopped to take a picture of the sun setting over our neighbours’ farm.
I wish I had a better camera. My iPad takes great pictures in the daytime, but loses detail and contrast in the fading evening light. But if you click on the photo you will see it full size. Imagine the sun almost twice the size it appears in the photo — and brilliant red! Even oppressive smoke has its silver lining, so to speak.
There’s a lesson in this for me. No matter how humdrum my life seems to be, and no matter what challenges I am facing, there is ALWAYS beauty around me. All I have to do is look for it.
It reminds me of a wonderful little book that came my way when my two oldest were babies… Musings of a Mother, by Doris Aldrich. With six children under seven, and several more to follow in the next few years, you can imagine how busy and hectic her life was. She had no servants, and did all her work herself. She could easily have caved under the pressure. Instead, she wrote stories about their daily life, and the little lessons learned, not only by the children, but by herself. Everyday events became adventures, and memories to treasure. She wrote the book in 1949; I received it in 1985; and I treasure it still today.
Musings of a Mother… a brilliant red sun in the smoky haze… Beauty in unexpected places.
© Willena Flewelling